Novel materials designed and fabricated with the help of nanotechnologies offer the promise of radical technological development. Many of these will improve our quality of life, and develop our economies, but all will be measured against the overarching principle that we do not make some error, and harm ourselves and our environment by exposure to new forms of hazard. A publication explores recent developments in nanomaterials research, and possibilities for safe, practical and resource-efficient applications.
Meeting the need for a reliable, sensitive, and accurate methodology for the detection of nanoparticles in complex samples, using low-cost and portable instrumentation, scientists have developed a novel methodology to quickly screen for the presence and reactivity of nanoparticles in commercial, environmental, and biological samples. A colorimetric assay - similar to a swimming pool test kit - tests for the presence or absence of nanoparticles in biological and environmental relevant samples with sufficient sensitivity at part per billion concentration levels.
Insurance companies are major stakeholders capable of contributing to the safer and more sustainable development of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. This is owed to the fact that the insurance industry is one of the bearers of potential losses that can arise from the production and use of nanomaterials and nanotechnology applications. Researchers have examined how the insurance market perception of nanotechnology can influence the sustainability of technological advances and insurers? concern for nanotechnology risks. They claim that, despite its role in sustaining technology development in modern society, insurers' perception on nanomaterials has been largely overlooked by researchers and regulators alike.
Numerous nanotoxicological studies reporting effects of nanomaterials typically address a single exposure at high dosages that are irrelevant to realistic human exposure. Recognizing that acute in vitro work had extremely low correlation to in vivo nanomaterial studies, coupled with the recognition that the unique characteristics that distinguish nanomaterials vary as a function of time, researchers sought to identify a model that would allow for the evaluation of nanomaterial behavior over a 3-month period, but be carried out in an in vitro model.
The investigation of effects of engineered nanomaterials on endothelial cells - which form the inner lining of blood vessels - is a critical safety issue. Already, various engineered nanomaterials are being designed for biomedical applications for intravascular use and other nanomaterials may reach the vasculature as a result of occupational, environmental, or other types of exposure. Researchers have now elucidated the mechanism of cytotoxicity of carboxylated MWCNTs on cultured endothelial cells and they show a new potential way of pharmacological cytoprotection against cytotoxic effect of carboxylated MWCNTs.
Assessing the potential effects of nanomaterials on environment and human health consists of two distinct aspects: To what degree are nanoparticles released from products; and how and to what degree do the released nanoparticles affect organisms? The first aspect is centered on a field called exposure science, the study of human contact to agents - such as chemicals or microbes - found in their surroundings. A new study looks at the release of nanosilver from consumer products for children. The core finding is that the release of silver from nanosilver-containing products depends heavily on how the product is used. The total amount of silver released by a consumer product is likely to be very low and, for the products tested, happened only in the beginning of product life.
The European Commission acknowledges that nanomaterials are revolutionary materials and that important challenges exist in regard to hazard and exposure assessments. Yet, they conclude that current risk-assessment methods are applicable to nanomaterials. Scientists argue that significant changes to REACH and the accompanying annexes are required to answer the call made by the public, downstream users and progressive businesses for clearer and more definite regulatory rules specific to nanomaterials.
The purpose of the emerging field of nanotoxicity is to recognize and evaluate the hazards and risks of engineered nanomaterials and evaluate safety. Today, we don't even know what the impact of most chemicals is, and that includes products that have been produced by industry for many years. Nevertheless, a general understanding about nanotoxicity is slowly emerging as the body of research on cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and ecotoxicity of nanomaterials grows. A new review summarizes and discusses recent reports derived from cell lines or animal models concerning the effects of nanomaterials on, and their application in, the endocrine system of mammalian and other species.